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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Origami Bags

Origami Bags are simple, yet stunning - MY kinda project!  They're also fun and fast - taking about an hour a piece. Final dimensions are about 6 x 7 x 2 inches.  You can actually fit quite a bit in one of these little pouches. 

This pattern comes from The Stitcher's Crossing (, where they sell handy-dandy Origami Bag kits or you can buy some fabric and they'll give you the pattern free.  All you need is two fat quarters per bag.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Recycled One Patch with Applique

I learn or re-learn something with every quilt I make.  Started this project with high hopes...but halfway through I thought this doll quilt was headed for the Island of Misfit Toys.  I learned:

1.  Quilitng uneven thicknesses is bugger.  Probably best to tie recycled fabrics, and quilt 100% cotton.
2.  Use light thread on light squares, dark thread on dark squares.
3.  Do not sew safety pins into your quilt - its hard to get them out (the pin was covered by tracing paper).
4.  When hand stitching on your lap (and watching TV), try not to sew the quilt to your pants.
5.  If you DO sew the quilt to your pants, try not to do it more than once.
6.  Most important: experiment, have fun, keep quilting!  :)

Sharing the Feast

There's a female cardinal in our area with white markings on her head.  This summer I watched her mature from a begging baby bird to an adult - eagerly waiting to see if she would turn red or gold.  The white markings persisted even after she got her adult plumage.  Haven't seen her since the days got shorter though.

Today I saw chickadees, nuthatches, purple finches and a Cooper's hawk.  But no cardinals.  When I finally spot Mrs. Cardinal again, I'll post a picture.  Meanwhile, the squirrels are feasting!

Did some quilting on TG, Friday and today.  I'm binding a UFO, and found a great small project that I can use as Christmas gifts - called Oragami Bags.  Will post pics of both soon.  Then I can finally get rolling on my cardinal quilt.

Remember the Not-To-Do List?  Yard work is history.  New dishwasher arrived today.  Delegated  laundry duties at home, and the Christmas party at work.  DANG, I'm good!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Harvest Apple Upside-Down Cake

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Made this recipe to accompany the pumpkin pie.  I just took it out of the oven.  Wish you could smell it!


3 TBSP Butter, melted
1/3 c. Chopped Nuts (I used pecans)
1/3 c. Brown Sugar, packed
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
2 Medium Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and sliced into rings (I chopped them)


3 1/3 c. All-purpose Baking Mix
1/3 c. Sugar
3/4 tsp. Cinnamon
2 Eggs
1 c. Milk
1/3 c. Vegetable Oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pour melted butter into 9 in. square baking pan.  (I used a 10" round).  Evenly coat bottom of pan.  In small bowl, combine nuts, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle mixture evenly over bottom of pan.  Arrange apples over nut mixture.  In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, oil and milk.  Add to dry ingredients; stir until just moistened.  Spread batter evenly over apples.  Bake 35-40 minutes.  Test with toothpick.  Loosen edges of pan with knife.  Carefully invert onto large plate.  Serve warm, with whipped topping if desired.

Recipe comes from the Pampered Chef-Recipes from the Heart Cookbook. 

Next time I'm going to put Red Hot candies in the topping for get a candied-apple flavor and color.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Table Runner DONE!!!

Here are the fruits of my weekend labor.  One Pumpkin table runner for someone who has no seasonal decorations in his home and company coming Wednesday night.
I happened to find a related fabric when browsing this weekend.  I used it for the backing and binding.  I love the earthy barns scenes, apples and pumpkins all over.  I think I'll be able to find many other uses for this fabric as well.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Seasonal Denial Disorder

Here's today's accomplishment.  Very Autumn-y, don't you think?  Used up some leftover blocks, and made my own applique.  I know its simple, but sometimes less is more.  Still needs a little embroidery (vines).   This project is behind schedule, but I'm having fun with it.  Plus I'm making a statement:  It's important to set aside time to be thoughtful and thankful.

I don't want to believe Christmas and Old Man Winter are right around the corner.  I'm in denial, and I want to stay here a a little longer.  Can you blame me?  It's 50 degrees outside and the grass is still green.  Never-the-less, neighbors have put up Christmas lights, carols are playing in the stores, and holiday music has been on the radio since Nov. 1st.  Heck - in my mind, Nov. 1st is when you get to eat the extra Halloween candy!  LOL. 

If we go directly from Halloween to Christmas, its as if Thanksgiving doesn't even exist.  Now is the time to give thanks for what we have, and think of those less fortunate.  (If you are able, please donate to your local food pantry.)  No wonder I'm befuddled by the holiday glitz.  But it could be flowers are even MORE confused than I am - they think its Spring!  :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

On Being Thankful

Here's a fabric that warms my heart: Friends, Family, Giving, Celebration, Bounty, Hope, Harvest, Life, Health, Love, Beauty, Generosity, Inspiration. 

What beautiful images these words bring to mind.  But I think the fabric designer must have run out of ideas at some point...because it also says: Cool, Crisp.  Makes me think of tossed salad! LOL.

Still, I love the sentiment and colors.  Will use this fabric for a harvest themed table runner.

Meanwhile, I found this fabric.  WHAT does one do with one lonely little fat quarter of golf fabric? I'd love some suggestions!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fort Hood Quilt is Here!

This quilt is destined for Fort Hood.  Ain't she a beauty?!  Sure wish I could take the credit - but that goes to the High Country and Friends quilting group.  Gosh, they do nice work!

I hope you can see the red, white & blue variegated thread that makes up the free motion quilting.  Gorgeous.

In a previous post, I speculated that a quilt from Wisconsin really ought to have a few cows on it.  Well, great minds really must think alike, because some of the red squares contain tiny black and white dairy cows.  Gotta love that!

FYI - I checked Cherry House's postings, and she will eventually post information on all 31 quilts sent to Fort Hood.  I can't wait to see the rest.  See:

Well, its time to get to the post office.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

First Ever Jeans Quilt

Here is my first-ever jeans quilt.  Like the puple nine patch, this is a college quilt.  I'd been thinking of making a jeans quilt for some time.  Found the flowered denim and blue checked denim and knew it had to happen.  I got this bright idea 2-3 weeks before graduation! 

One week prior to graduation I found the pink jeans and opted to make the pillow and border.  Only the quilt top was done in time for the graduation party. 

So I put color coordinated bandanas and assorted school supplies in each of the pockets, boxed the quilt top up, wrapped it up and presented it to the graduate, promising to have it complete by fall.  Here are the results. 

The back is a variegated pink fleece.  Low loft batting inside.  Pink yarn ties.  As with my other jeans quilts, user reports it's very warm!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Friend of the Wife of a Friend of a Friend

Had coordinated a group effort to whip up a patriotic quilt for Fort Hood.  But in the process, received a generous offer from the friend of the wife of a friend of a friend...who has not one, but THREE patriotic quilts on hand! 
The donated quilt will change hands several times before it reaches me, and of course, once more before reaching Fort Hood.  Kinda neat to think about.
Can't wait to see the donated quilt next week! and to credit its creator..Will snap a picture or two to share before I send it on to TX.

Meanwhile, my 24 partially pieced squares will be lovingly packed away until RW&B fever compels me to piece some stars to balance all the stripes. Being a Wisconsin quilt, I woul like to find a barn print with some mik cows on it.  But this will become a project for another day.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Veteran's Day, My Birthday

Now and then I get the urge to create something red, white and blue.  The table runner at left was a first attempt at quilt-as-you-go strip quilting - made about the Fourth of July. The quilt at right is a jeans quilt I made during a bout of election fever in 2008.

Now, I'm compelled to work with red, white and blue again- this time for the families of the victims at Fort Hood.  I rallied the troops (i.e. fellow quilter friends and friends of quilter friends) and we're going to coordinate our efforts.  I've always wanted to do a community quilt, where different people contribute different squares.  But I'm saddened it will be for this purpose.

So, tomorrow is my birthday.  As a kid, it meant that there was no mail on my birthday so I couldn't get any cards.  As an adult, it has of course, taken on deeper meaning.  But I approach it with a heavy heart knowing some young Wisconsinites were injured or killled at Fort Hood, just a few days after leaving home.  I've talked with people who know families affected by the Fort Hood incident.  On one hand a family rejoices their loved one survived.  Other families greive.  Hard to comprehend how life turns out sometimes.

But I do take solace in the response of the quilting community to the call for quilts.  Confirming once again, the power of the human spirit, commitment and community and (of course) that quilters are the salt of the earth.  Peace.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

And Cheerful, It Is!

Yup, blue is definitely more cheerful than gray.

This came together quickly once I got all the triangles done.  Next time you see it, it will be quilted and bound. keep or give away?

Too Damn Cheerful

I was recently told by a coworker that I'm just "too damn cheerful!"  Those words came to mind as the border for this table topper started to come together.  The original instructions called for assorted greys, to represent the days grays of mid-winter.  I just couldn't do it.  On a gray day I don't want to be reminded of MORE gray days - I want to think about beautiful blue skies! 

So there you have it, call me what you want, but this is going to be one cheerful snowflake runner. :)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Noah's Ark Quilt Finished

Noah and the critters have set sail!  I'm happy with how the scalloped blue border adds to the feeling of being on the water.  I hope you can see the wavy quilting.

Unlike Noah, the Good Lord didn't clue me in on how many cubits to make the waves or scallops, so I winged it.  In retrospect, the size of the waves is out of scale with the size of the ark.  Sure hope Noah remembered to bring some Dramamine!

Below is a close up of the fabrics.  The depictions of the animals are really cute.  Mrs. Pig is wearing a straw hat with a flower, and I love the cats.  To my friend who suggested an angel theme for this quilt, you'll see there's even an angel in the sky.  Very sweet.

To anyone attempting to do scallops for the first time, I recommend using spray starch (which I did not do).  My marking template for the waves was a coffee cup and the template for the scalloped border was a sauce dish.  I love it when every day items can multi-task!

Well, I have a UFO to complete, then back to uber-quilting Christmas gifts.  I went gonzo at a 60% off sale at the fabric shop, so you'll be seeing more projects soon.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Why I Love Quilting

It's simple.  I love quilting because it has a beginning, a middle and an end.  Heavy emphasis on the lasting, concrete, visible results. 

Don't ya feel like so much of what we have to do is endless?  Housework, cooking, dishes, laundry, yard work, work work.  About the time you finish one task...several more that have piled up - patiently awaiting your attention.  They accumulate in the hamper, the sink and lurk in the back of your mind. 

Now that its November, my thoughts are turning to Thanksgiving...and what I can be thankful for.  I'm thankful for beautiful Wisconsin seasons and plant life to inspire quilt designs and color combinations, thankful for the gorgeous fabrics there are to choose from, thankful that my kids are old enough that I can be creative again without worrying about a baby picking up a dropped pin and putting it in their mouth.  Thankful that all the assorted contrivances we need to survive (car, furnace, plumbing, sewing machines, computers, etc.) are in good working order so I can do what I want and need to do each day.  Thankful I have a career I enjoy (even if it does interfere with quilting).  Thankful for all the wonderful people in my life (you know who you are).

All in all, life is good.  But right now, at this very minute, thank God for quilting, and concrete tangible results.  What a wonderful respite from the grind of every day life!